Derry Girls star Peter Campion says that people come up to him in the street to speak to him about his role as the ‘sexy priest’ in Derry Girls.
The actor, who has also starred in Peaky Blinders and Love/Hate says that he didn’t intend to become a sex symbol in the hit show.
His character Father Peter Conway may have set pulses racing across the world but in the original script there wasn’t anything remarkable about him.
In fact, the idea of Father Conway being something of a heartthrob is all the more remarkable because the character is generally mocked in the show.
The cynical nun, Sister Michael, is particularly scathing when presented with some of his ‘trendy priest’ suggestions such as getting children from rival Catholic and Protestant schools together for team building day out. “Are you out of your absolute mind,” she asks with a contemptuous roll of her eyes.
In that episode, his attempt to get the children from the two sides to write down both the similarities and differences between Catholics and Protestants turns into a humiliating failure as the blackboard showing differences is crammed to overflowing while the one showing similarities is empty.
In another episode he is mocked as a wannabe TV presenter as he comperes a show in which the girls sing a song by the Spice Girls.
Campion told the Irish Mirror: “He was just a priest at the time.
“I don’t get shouted at but people do talk to me, they bring it up in conversation.”
His co-star Ian McElhinney, who plays Grandpa Joe said it was Campion that ‘made him sexy’.
The star is also a favourite with fans thanks to another of his TV roles – as the deep voiced narrator of dating show First Dates Ireland.
When he’s out in public, people also ask him to recite lines from the RTÉ show – much to his bemusment.
He said: “They want me to do some lines from it. But what I have to say is, when I do those voiceovers, I speak very close to the mic so my voice sounds deeper.
“And that’s why I don’t sound like that on Derry Girls. It’s a big show, people talk about it a lot and they really like it.”
Campion can’t even escape talk of his work at home – even though his wife – Valerie O’Connor of Red Rock – is a famous actress in her own right.
He added: “I think we talk about it without knowing that we talk about it. We have got two beautiful kids. And it is probably part of the conversation where it is just there but we are not really aware of it.”
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